© Stefano Miliffi
Stefano Miliffi’s project examines an old tradition of healers active in Garfagnana, a mountainous area in the Italian province of Lucca. “Segnatori” (healers) are said to have the power to treat warts, shingles, and evil eye using religious icons and herbs. Miliffi says, “They do not ask for money in return and do not accept any kind of gift. It is an old tradition that is handed down from father to son at midnight on Christmas eve.” Unfortunately, he adds, the tradition is disappearing, and few segnatori remain.
Above: Elena, who is 75 years old, is a self-taught healer. Depending on the season, she uses knot-grass, salt and oil to treat evil eye.
Ilario, who is 85 years old, has been a segnatore since he was 14 years old. He lives in Pieve Fosciana.
“Madonnina della tosse” is a small, dilapidated church in Lupinaia where disease was thought to magically disappear in those who went to pray in front of the painting above the altar.
A small cemetery in Fosciandora where healers are buried.
Anacleto, who is 83 years old, lives in Gallicano and has practiced healing since he was 50.
Turrite Cava lake in Garfagnana.
Andreina, who is 80 years old and lives in Fabbriche di Vallico, attributes her healing powers to divine providence. She cure shingles and evil eye in humans as well as animals, mostly cows and horses.